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10.3. Fonts and Text

The font property has also picked up a few new values in CSS2:

caption
icon
menu
message-box
small-caption
status-bar 

These values give the font property the ability to match the font family, size, weight, and so forth, according to the settings users have specified on their computers. For example, icons on a Macintosh are typically labeled using 9-point Geneva. Assuming that hasn't been changed by the user, any font declaration with a value of icon will result in 9-point Geneva for that text -- as long as the page is viewed using a Macintosh:

SPAN.OScap {font: icon;}  /* will look like icon labels in OS */

On a Windows system, of course, the font would come out different, and under other window managers (like X), it would look different still. The flexibility is certainly interesting, and it allows the author to easily create pages that have an appearance familiar to the user.

10.3.1. New Font Properties

The font section gains two new properties in CSS2. font-size-adjust is intended to help browsers make sure that text will be the intended size, regardless of whether the browser can use the font specified in the style sheet. It is often a problem that authors will call for a font that is not available to the user, and when another font is substituted, it's either too big or too small to read comfortably. This new property addresses that very problem, and should be very useful for authors who want to make sure that their documents are readable no matter what font is substituted.

The other new font property is font-stretch , which allows you to define variable widths for the fonts you use. This is similar to setting a character width in a desktop publishing system. The property uses keywords such as ultra-condensed , wider, and expanded. The changes are handled in a fashion similar to font weights, where a table of condensed and expanded font faces is constructed, and the keywords are assigned to various faces. If no face exists, the user agent may try to scale a font on its own, or it may simply ignore font-stretch altogether. Figure 10-13 shows what a font might look like for each possible value of font-stretch.

The borders have to go somewhere. This is where they went.

Again, all of this is only true for the top and bottom sides ofinline elements; the left and right sides are a different story.We'll start by considering the simple case of a small inlineelement within a single line, as depicted in Figure 7-52.

Figure 7-52

Figure 7-52. An inline element

Here, if we set values for the left or right border, not only willthey be visible, but they'll displace the text around them, aswe see in Figure 7-53:

Figure 10-13

Figure 10-13. Stretching fonts

10.3.2. text-shadow

In terms of text, there is one new property, text-shadow, which has the effect you'd probably expect from its name: you can define a drop shadow of a given color for text. You can even set an offset and a blur radius, which means you can get cool fuzzy shadows, or even glow effects, using this property. We should fully expect to see this property horribly abused the instant it's supported by any browser; for a few examples of why, see the simulations in Figure 10-14.

Figure 10-14

Figure 10-14. Various effects using the text-shadow property



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the only way this will have any visual impact is by being applied to inline content within that block-level element. Consider the following paragraph, for example:

<P STYLE="line-height: 0.25em;"></P>

Without content, the paragraph won't have anything to display, so it will not. The fact that this paragraph has a line-height of any value -- be it 0.25em or 25in -- makes no difference without inline content to take advantage of it.

B {margin: 10px; background: silver;}

As expected, Figure 7-24 shows a little extra spaceon the right and left sides of the inline element, and no extra spaceabove or below it.

Figure 7-24

Figure 7-24. An inline element with a 10-pixel margin

This all seems simple enough, but when the boldfaced text stretchesacross multiple lines, the situation becomes a little odd. First,realize that the margins set for inline elements are not applied at used to determine the initial content-height. Thus, if an inline element has a font-size of 15px , then the content-height starts out as 15px .

Second, all of the inline elements in a given line are aligned according to their values for vertical-align. By default, this will cause all text in the line to be aligned along their baselines, but of course different vertical-align values will have different effects.